(From the province Cambogia, where it is produced in the largest quantities). From its supposed virtues, it is called gummi ad podagram, gummi gutta; and by corruption gotta, gutta gamba, gamon, gcrmandra, catagemu, gamboidea, & c.; from its gold colour, chrysopus; and from its purgative quality, suc-cus laxativus, succus Indicus purgans, and scammoni-uin orientate; usually gamboge.
It is a gummy resinous concrete, brought from the East Indies; not, as has been supposed, the produce of the tree called coddam-pulli; but more probably obtained from a shrub of the esula or tithymalus kind, referred by Koenig to a new genus, stalagmites. It is usually supposed to be the concrete juice of the Cambogia gutta Lin. Sp. Pl. 728; and is brought to us in large cakes and rolls. It is solid, brittle, of a smooth surface, perfectly opake, free from any visible impurities, of a deep reddish yellow colour, and uniform throughout its whole substance; stains moist hands of a yellow colour; when chewed, it hath little or no taste; but soon after impresses a pungent acrimony and heat, and occasions a dryness in the mouth. It easily melts over the fire, ignites from the flame of a candle, burns with a white flame, and leaves a gray ash.
In medicine, it is chiefly used as a drastic purge; but in small doses, or united with other laxatives, often operates with safety and ease; producing copious discharges by stool. In many constitutions gamboge disagrees with the stomach, and occasions vomiting, with cold sweats, and other marks of dangerous commotion; and in dropsies, if given alone, it sometimes produces faintness from the discharge. The dose is from two grains to ten. Boiling in water is said to lessen its activity; solutions in alkalised water are supposed to act only by stool and urine.
In general, we have not found these observations correct. Rubbed with almonds, from its want of taste, it is a convenient laxative for children; and alkalis have been styled its correctors, but they seem only to change the colour from a yellow to a dull red.
It may be given in doses of three or four grains rubbed down with a little sugar, and repeated every three or four hours; it then evacuates water freely, both by stool and urine. See Spiritus cochleariae aureus. It has been recommended also in obstructions of the bowels, in taenia, and in quartans. It, however, too often produces vomiting to be eminently useful in the first complaint; and to destroy a taenia, its dose must be unusually and dangerously large. It is employed, however, with advantage in Madame Nouffler's formula, to assist the action of the fern root. In quartans it is no longer exhibited.
Thc gambogitae tinctura ammoniata, arnmoniated tincture of gamboge, has been of considerable service in some cutaneous complaints, if a tea spoonful or two are given every night and morning; and is made by-dissolving eighteen grains of gamboge in two ounces of the spirits of ammonia.
Rectified spirit of wine dissolves five sixths, and acquires a deep gold colour from it: water, assisted by heat, takes up the same proportion; but on cooling deposits much of the resin: if the water is first impregnated with an alkaline salt, it is said to deposit none. See Tournefort's Materia Medica. Lewis and Cul-len's Materia Medica.